Global warming countermeasures are centered on 2 parts. The first part is "easing" which holds back the warming by avoiding a density rise of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere through cutting down the gas emitted during human activities. The second is "adaptation" which mitigates the warming impact through modifying our lifestyles or behaviors, and adjusting the social system. The latter part is based on the idea that the warming has been a given. In the fourth assessment report by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it was reminded that "major impacts of climate change could be avoided, decreased or delayed by ease" and that "adaptation is crucial for the impacts at hand, because climate change influence over the next several decades is inevitable, even if we struggle to ease" as well.
We have taken the lead in the easing as approved in the "Action plan for a low-carbon path" by a Cabinet meeting in July 2008. Additionally in January 2010, the Council for Science and Technology Policy, Cabinet Office has recommended that "an opportunity to adapt climate change should be an exciting occasion for the nation to renew our society and our value" in the report of "Technology Development Direction for a Climate Change Adapted New Society." For the adaptation, they have targeted to “strength the green society infrastructure" and to "build environmentally-advanced cities." They presume that the most effective climate control is to go ahead with both the easing and the adaptation and they direct a technology development for it.
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has addressed earth observation, climate change projection and basic research on environment. Furthermore, they say that they would comprehensively promote R&D for a low-carbon path, such as low-carbonize technologies, adaptations of unavoidable warming consequences, a scenario study for the R&D path, and field demonstrations to implement both easing and adaptation techniques into a real-world, in the "Research and Development Strategies for a Low-Carbon Path" in August 2009.
A novel measure "Initiative for Strategic Adaptation to Climate Change (ISACC)" plays a role in the above strategies to target the "Research Program on Climate Change Adaptation (RECCA)." It is intended to as follows:
- Enhance the research level for climate change adaptation dynamically,
- Provide scientific knowledge to evaluate the adaptations,
- Contribute to achieve a robust society in climate change effect.
Climate change effects may vary regionally. Aging society with a falling birthrate, urban congestion and regional declining population, lifestyle change, and creaky social infrastructures built during the years of high economic growth, have already been weakening local communities. For a community with various slumping factors, future climate change may be a major concern about water cycle, forestry, urban environment, food production, or infection. Therefore, a felicitous environmental impact assessment based on mid- and long-term perspectives is mission-critical and effective strategies are required to minimize the influence.
Science-based information on forecast is vital to prepare for the strategies. However, it is told that the space resolution of the current climate change projection is not sensitive enough for local-scale, and the following modifications are required:
- Improvement of temporal and spatial resolution for the calculation,
- Reduction of uncertainty during the forecast.
Additionally, a climate change adaptation simulation, which uses fruits of the global climate change projection model to consider social situations of the area, is expected as a scientific knowledge supplier. The knowledge is necessary to plan effective adaptations for decision-makers and stakeholders.
As we promote R&D to provide scientific knowledge obtained from the climate change projections for the regional (prefectures or cities) adaptation, we presented to the public the research topics from March 8 to April 28, 2010. The collected research topics were reviewed through documents and hearings by an expert committee; afterward, 12 research topics were chosen in August 2010. (The chosen research topics were released by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology on August 6, 2010.)
The 12 research topics target the following regions.